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Virtual visitation as part of a custody order

As technology continues to move forward, virtual visitation is a practical tool being discussed and utilized in family court systems as part of divorce proceedings. Florida and other states already have laws in place that permit the use of virtual visitation, which allows noncustodial parents and their children to enjoy time together through such methods as video conferencing and social networks. Courts in some states that currently do not have specific legislation are allowing this form as well as part of an approved parenting plan and custody order.

Some of the benefits to virtual visitations include instances where the custodial parent and child live a considerable distance from the non-custodial parent. In this situation, utilizing webcams or video conferencing methods could allow children to interact more readily with an absent parent. This type of virtual visitation may give some parents and children the ability to share events such as school plays and athletic activities.

However, it is important that virtual visitation does not replace physical parenting time, and the courts will likely continue to exercise caution in child custody cases that involve electronic visits. Just as in traditional child custody decisions, the family courts will continue to make arrangements that are in the best interests of the child. If for any reason a court does not allow a parent physical contact with his or her child, it is unlikely that virtual visitation will be approved.

Child custody arrangements can become complicated, especially in cases where for employment or family reasons a custodial parent decides to move to another location that is far away from where the non-custodial parent lives. In these and other similar situations, a family law attorney can help determine whether virtual visitation could be approved as a method of supplementing in-person visits.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation", accessed on Jan. 21, 2015

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